Show announcement Aug 29th, 2013


Working on Night Moves

Blue Moon Overlook. 11x14"

The past week we had some beautiful warm nights here in Portland and with that has come a few rare opportunities to paint nocturnes: a bridge closure and a Blue Moon rising.

My friend Quin discovered that the St Johns bridge was going to close at 9pm for mantantence and that meant no cars on the bridge. The great thing was that it was still open to pedestrians so Quin hosted a small paint out on the St John's bridge that night.

Don Bishop taking the opportunity for a street scene photograph.

Painting crew Za Vue, Don Bishop and a kind maintenance crewman. 

I have crossed this bridge many times during all seasons of the year and have admired it's view from my car window. I had often wondered how I could access it's grand view for a painting. Not only would it be just too cold or windy, but it would also be noisy and perhaps dangerous. So I jumped at the idea and met up with my 3 friends to paint.
Because I could!

This rare opportunity provided a quiet and panoramic view along with a sense of wonder. I was moved to lay in the middle of the road... just because I could.

Then last night...
Thomas Kittsand Eric Bowman (not pictured) 
Photos courtesy of David Burbach

Eric Bowman called a few artists known for nocturne painting to paint along with him for a "Blue Moonrise" over The Tualatin River Waster Refuge.  (A Blue Moon is normally a full moon twice in one month, but this month it was out 3 times.) Read more about the Blue Moon HERE.

I got there plenty early to warm up and to get my oil palette mixed. Here is my first as the shadows quickly moved across the field.
"Evening's Last Run" 11x14" Oil
My first study of the shadows in the tall grass. 

"Blue Moon Rising" 11x14" Oil
My second piece as the moon began to rise.

When the sunlight was all gone, that meant just one more quick piece with the full light of the moon...as the others enjoyed a bottle of "Blue Moon" brew.
Nocturne painting works best when you have a couple of helpers and an Energizer clip light.  

I like the small Energizer brand clip on lights the best. The light is strong but has a "blue" tint to it and it can bend to aim in the area of your palette or panel. I use a couple of them to give me just enough light to get me through the work. Perhaps not color correct, but it does the trick. I have also used a strapped on head lamp. They work to an extent, but but like a headlamp, it moves with your head while you look up...then down, then back up.  It can be a bit annoying to focus then refocus with a headlamp, so I usually take it off. Not to mention it cuts circulation to that most important part of your painting...the brain!
"Blue Moon over Sherwood" 14x11" Oil
This one was a very quick and final study.

And now for a little video of that summertime song "Nightmoves" by Bob Seger.



Sidewalk Chalk Day

My attempt with sidewalk art

Today my son and I participated in a local sidewalk chalk painting competition as a promotion for our local  Blick Art Store. We were asked to sign up last week thinking it would be just a lot of community fun and a chance to do something interesting. Of course I had to say yes!

Halfway done

Each participant was given a mapped section on the sidewalk just outside the store and Blick provided a small set of soft pastels and a goody bag full of an assortment of artsy things along with a bottle of water. We were allowed to bring supplemental pastels if we chose to and so I brought some of my older hard pastels from home along with a pair of rubber gloves, a photo to work from and my yoga mat for knee protection. A good choice that was as my knees were worn down a bit and my fingertips burned through the gloves from blending the chalks. I came up with the idea of wetting down the pastels with the bottled water to get a wash into the cement. It was a bit of a risky move, but it worked out really well as it also made the image look "watery"

Here is Cody's finished piece "Shrimp boat"

Getting into the creative mode. 

Here's our sidewalk studio

As I was finishing up, I did exactly what I always tell my students to NEVER do... I BLEW on the art!  Ghaaad! The dust went  everywhere and created a 'grey haze" over the entire work. Man, I guess I should listen to myself every now and then, hmmm?

This morning we got word that Cody won 1st place in the Children's category. He gets some tempera paints and some watercolors to get him off to a great artistic start. Yeah Cody!

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Willamette Wetlands + Sundown at Youngberg, 24x36

"Willamette Wetlands" 24x36" Oil (studio)

 "Tualatin Wetlands" 8x10" Oil (Plein Air)

I'm getting really excited and working like a mad and crazy artist preparing for a group show with 3 other Northwest Plein Air Artists Don Bishop, Michael Orwick and Romona Youngquist in a show called Plein Air Showcase at Art Element Gallery this coming August 29th. We all pitched in for two ads placed in Southwest Art and American Art Collector Magazines and really pushing for a huge turnout. To date, we have confirmation from several sources that this will be a BIG opening!  I can't wait!
Southwest Art went a step further and published a small article on our upcoming show in their Aug 2013 issue HERE.
Here is our ad (designed by Don Bishop)

Anyway, enough with the shameless self/group promotion, I want to tell you about this new work that will be in the show! I finished these two large pieces and worked with oils on a scale that I am not usually known for. It was a lot of fun and loved working out on the back patio with my umbrella, easel, and make-shift palette. Except for the occasional pine needle dropping on my work, it was lovely just having everything at my fingertips in an outdoor setting.  A nice mix of both plein air and studio at its best.

The references for the larger pieces originated from plein air works (in both pastel and oil) that I created last year that I deemed successful and wanted to create them on a larger scale for this show. Usually up sizing from a smaller plein air piece doesn't translate well, but I think this time I was successful with the final work.  As with plein air work it has a fresh, immediate feel to it as with any plein air piece should. Compared to the larger studio work, they are more timely, calm, and softer. Can you tell?
"Sundown at Youngberg" 24x36" Oil  (Studio)

"Challenging Sundown" 10x8" Pastel Sold  (Plein Air)

Anyway, I do hope that if you are in the area to come on out to the opening on August 29th, or at least stop by the gallery for a lookie-loo up until September 21st. You may even decide to take a detour to one of the many wineries and taste a flight while watching the sun set across the vines.  Ahh, Oregon at it's best!

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Falling into a Routine

My "Outdoor studio" set up with 24x36" panel

I'm finally feeling like I have my life back in order after my past two adventures. It's funny how we love routine and then hate it because of its common place, old boring ways. I love the adventures but also love returning home to my old sameness.  My equipment has returned back home from Easton and my home is getting back into reasonable shape with all my supplies organized and stored for the next impromptu paint out.  I have been taking time painting outdoors in a make-shift studio out in my backyard.  I've had this large umbrella from festival days gone by and propped it up to give me even light over my easel. I then set up a long shaped card table with a long slice of old plexiglass that I fashioned for my oil palette. Then I put a drop cloth under everything along with a cushion to ease my back on the cement.  I'm ready for something big!

I started out with my typical "orange" underpainting as you can see above.  I thought "Gee, I use orange when I pastel paint, why not with oils?"  Not sure of it's outcome yet, but it makes sense to me, and besides, it's OK to experiment, right?

Here is what is on the easel now...yet to be finished.

So, in preparation for an upcoming group show (see post below), my friends and co-artists have been preparing large works for the show.  Yikes! All I have are small plein air works straight from the field to offer at this time, so I figured I should at least try to keep up with them lest my work be dwarfed.  So I'm set for getting a few last larger pieces painted for the show, and yes, they will be "outdoor studio pieces" painted from plein air works, as advertised.

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